This week's Family Dinner Table Talk, from HuffPost and The Family Dinner book:
It might sound crazy to you that mail was once delivered twice a day. But if new plans to end Saturday delivery go forward, your own children may find the idea that mail was ever delivered six days a week just as strange.
The roots of the Postal Service go all the way back to the American Revolution and beyond; Benjamin Franklin -- who had been a colonial postmaster before the break with Great Britain -- was the first Postmaster General.
Of course, the early mail system looked a lot different from today's. Postage stamps weren't available until the mid-1800s, and the ZIP code system only came about in the early '60s.
This week, Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahue announced that to avoid losing billions of dollars, the Postal Service is hoping to end Saturday letter delivery in August. (Some post offices will still be open on Saturdays, though, and packages will continue to be delivered six days a week.)
The Postal Service hopes the measure will help it stay afloat. However, the Associated Press explains that it’s a tricky situation in terms of the law -- and the move may only be permissible because of a "legal loophole."
Tonight, let’s talk about the role physical (vs. electronic) mail plays in our lives -- and what happens when historic institutions have to adapt.
Questions for discussion:
- Do you think the end of Saturday mail will make a difference in your life?
- How often do you actually send a letter, rather than a text or email? How much do you think the Internet has affected the Post Office’s business?
- What are some things the adults in your life can remember that aren’t around anymore?
In her cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."
We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.